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Marcos Zapata's Last Supper: A Feast of European Religion and Andean Culture
Vol. 10, No. 4 (Fall 2010), pp. 9-11
Published by: University of California Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/gfc.2010.10.4.9
Page Count: 3
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In Marcos Zapata's 1753 painting of the Last Supper in Cuzco, Peru, Christian symbolism is filtered through Andean cultural tradition. Zapata was a late member of the Cuzco School of Painting, a group comprised of few European immigrants and handfuls of mestizo and Indian artists. The painters in Cuzco learned mostly from prints of European paintings, and their style tends to blend local culture into the traditional painting of their conquistadors. Imagery was the most successful tool used by the Spaniards in their quest to Christianize the Andean population. By teaching locals to paint Christian subjects, they were able to infuse Christianity into Andean traditions. Zapata's rendering of the Last Supper utilizes this cultural blending while staying true to the Christian symbolism within the subject. Instead of the traditional lamb, Zapata's Last Supper features a platter of cuy, or guinea pig, an Andean delicacy stocked with protein as well as cultural significance. Cuy was traditionally a sacrificial animal at Inca agricultural festivals and in this way it offers poignant parallel to the lamb, as a traditional Christian sacrificial animal.